Five Reasons to Read: Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne – A Spirited Adventure in Barbados about Grief, Magical Stepmothers, and Carribean Mythology

Josephine
Synopsis:

Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That’s why she makes a habit of scaring his new girlfriends away. She’s desperate to make it onto her school’s cricket team because she’ll get to play her favorite sport AND use the cricket matches to distract Daddy from dating.

But when Coach Broomes announces that girls can’t try out for the team, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . .

The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, this one doesn’t scare easily. Josephine knows there’s something fishy about Mariss but she never expected her to be a vengeful sea creature eager to take her place as her father’s first love! Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss’s clutches before it’s too late?

After reading Josephine Against the Sea, I felt like I had traveled all the way to the small village in Barbados where Josephine lives, and that I had gone on an unforgettable journey with her. Josephine Against the Sea reminds me so much of the middle-grade books that I used to read as a younger reader – a story filled with mischief, a little danger, but is ultimately a simple and fun adventure with so much heart.

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Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Liselle Sambury, Author of Blood Like Magic – On Futuristic Witches, Blended Families & Writing Relatable Teens

Our Friend is

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

If you love stories about witches, then gather around the Pond, friend – because I think you will love our friend who is visiting the Pond today and our interview. And if you love the idea of a story with Black witches living in 2049 living with modern technology, where their magic is tied to blood and ancestry, then I think you will love Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury as much as I did.

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Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Fonda Lee, Author of Jade City – On the Journey, Challenges, and Victories of Writing The Green Bone Saga Trilogy – and What’s Next

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of May, where Asian and Pasifika authors are invited to celebrate being Asian and Pasifika work and literature! Find the introduction post for Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month here.

What an incredible month Asian Pasifika Heritage Month has been. We have had the privilege to host an array of wonderful guests, who visited us and shared with us their work, their thoughts, and their passions. Today guest is one that, if you have visited us at the Pond for awhile, will be known to you. I am a huge fan of her work – I’ve read all of her books and her epic urban fantasy trilogy, The Green Bones Saga, remains to be one of my favourite series of all time – so you would have undoubtedly heard me rave about her. Friends, our very last guest for Asian Pasifika Heritage Month at the Pond 2021 is the brilliant Fonda Lee.

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Book Review: Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury – A Dark and Compelling Urban Fantasy About Witches, Family, the Price of Magic, and Love

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
Synopsis:

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything. 

‘Woah’ was the word that escaped my mouth when I finished this. Because holy smokes, Blood Like Magic is truly unlike any book that I have read before. With its fascinating take on a not-so-distant futurism blended with witches, a story that explores how far you would go to save your family, the price we pay for love, and the looming question of ‘if you had to sacrifice your first love to save your family, would you?’, Blood Like Magic is undeniably compelling and fascinating. I had such a wonderful time with this book, and I’m excited to share with you all my thoughts on this book.

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Five Reasons to Read: The Infinity Cycle Series by Adam Silvera – Reluctant Teen Soldiers, Phoenixes, and The Consequence of Power

Infinity Son and Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera.
Synopsis for Infinity Son:

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed. 

Adam Silvera’s debut novel, More Happy Than Not, is a stunning and poignant story about trauma, sexuality, and mental illness that shook the young adult world to its core. When he followed with They Both Die in the End and History is All You Left Me, I think I speak for most readers by saying that Adam became responsible for more tears shed, more aching hearts. Because at the core of Adam Silvera’s stories are stories about ordinary teens grappling with immense crevasses that have fractured their lives – whether it be trauma, love, heartbreak, or destiny.

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